I recently had the chance to visit the Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto prior to an international flight on Air Canada Signature Class.
This exclusive premium lounge is reserved exclusively for select passengers travelling in Air Canada Signature Class. I had been keen to visit the Signature Suite ever since it opened in 2017, so I was delighted to finally have the opportunity to check it out.
Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto – Access
The Air Canada Signature Suite is situated within the international departures area of Toronto Pearson International Airport, next to Gate E77.
The moment you spot this gate, you’ll see a modest sign on the left pointing in the direction of the lounge area.
From here, you can take the elevator to the upper level, where the Signature Suite is positioned next to the Plaza Premium Lounge.
The Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto upholds a strict access protocol to maintain exclusivity.
Access is granted to passengers who are travelling on paid Air Canada business class fares or those on an Aeroplan Business Class (Flexible) fare for an Air Canada business class flight, en route to Europe, Asia, or South America.
Passengers departing from Toronto on an Emirates First Class flight also enjoy access to the Air Canada Signature Suite, and may bring along one guest.
Keep in mind that there are otherwise no guesting privileges, and you aren’t able to access the Signature Suite when travelling with Air Canada’s partner airlines, Aeroplan Business Class (Lowest) fares, eUpgrades, or operational upgrades.
Additionally, access is granted to holders of the exclusive American Express Air Canada Card, which is available by invitation only, who are travelling in any class of service. These cardholders are able to bring in one guest.
In my case, I had managed to snag a favourably priced business class fare on Air Canada, partly for the purposes of sampling the Air Canada Signature Suite: Vancouver–Toronto–Barcelona on the outbound, followed by Amsterdam–Toronto on the return, for around $2,600 (CAD).
In terms of opening hours, the Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto is accessible daily from 6:30am until 11pm.
Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto – Seating
The entrance welcomes you with slatted wooden walls, accented by sleek black elements and distinctive Air Canada details. Continuing past the reception area, a marble feature wall adorned with live plants captures your attention on the right.
After I entered, a staff member offered to keep my carry-on luggage in the storage room, which seems to be a standard policy in this lounge. There isn’t all too much room to move around in the hallways, and the lounge would easily become clogged with bags otherwise.
Divided into approximately three separate sections, the sprawling 6,400-square-foot suite can accommodate as many as 160 passengers.
Before entering the main lounge, a cozy circular seating arrangement awaits on the left. Designed to offer a sense of seclusion for larger groups of travellers, this space features ambient lighting, leather benches, and charming floral pillows.
Then, there’s a spacious dining area, featuring the lounge’s stunning signature marble bar.
At the far end, an arrangement of booth seating and tables extends across two rows. As a backdrop, a beautiful nature-inspired mural by renowned Ottawa artist Gavin Lynch captures your attention.
The seating here is where the à la carte dining takes place, proactively set with elegant table settings.
Closer to the bar area, there are two more rows accommodating more casual two-person dining tables. Here, a captivating chandelier crafted by Toronto’s Moss & Lam takes centre stage, cleverly dividing the room lengthwise.
There’s a separate private dining room in the back of the lounge, which is normally reserved for select passengers holding Air Canada VIP status.
(Since the private dining room was unoccupied during my visit, Air Canada invited me to briefly try out the VIP dining experience during this visit to sample the experience, which I very much appreciated.)
An elongated passageway stretches from the lounge entrance across the lounge, and plays host to additional lounge seating, in the form of armchairs, recliners, and two-person seating clusters.
Moreover, the lounge is well-connected with a multitude of discreet AC and USB-A power outlets distributed throughout the lounge, including at almost every seat.
One downside to the lounge is that there’s a noticeable absence of windows and natural light, given the space that the lounge occupies on the interior upper level of the Terminal 1 building.
This is somewhat counterbalanced by the very pleasant interior décor, characterized by an airy ambiance, abundant greenery, and ample Canadian-inspired works of art.
Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto – Dining
The main draw of the Air Canada Signature Suite is the lovely food and drink selection, which surely ranks among the best when it comes to North American business class lounges. Indeed, I’d say that the only potential rival in this regard might be American Airlines’s Flagship First Dining experience.
The Signature Suite offers a complimentary à la carte dining experience through a full-service restaurant-style menu, curated by renowned chef David Hawksworth of Hawksworth Restaurant in Vancouver.
Moreover, an impressive selection of Champagne, wines, and cocktails is available, including two premium Champagnes: Laurent Perrier Rosé and Taittinger Brut.
The selection rotates every six months, so you may expect to find other top-shelf Champagnes if you’re visiting the Signature Suite in the future.
Keep in mind that self-service drinks aren’t available. Instead, you have the option to order beverages at the impressive marble-clad bar, which boasts a selection of premium top-shelf alcohol. Alternatively, the staff can bring your chosen drinks directly to your seat.
Likewise, the à la carte dining menu is also very impressive, and portion sizes are reasonable to encourage diners to try multiple items.
- 1 of 5
- 2 of 5
- 3 of 5
- 4 of 5
- 5 of 5
The menu showcases four appetizers and an equal number of entrées. During my visit, I sampled two appetizers along with three main courses.
I started with the tuna tataki, which was light and refreshing with equal hints of zest and spice to it, thanks to a few sprinkles of lemon juice and pepper. Honestly, this was probably the best tuna tataki I’ve had in my life!
Next up was the Quebec foie gras terrine. This dish was a mouthwatering treat that perfectly accompanied the Henry of Pelham dessert wine, which was a recommended pairing by the very knowledgeable in-house sommelier.
The ratio of foie gras to brioche leaned a tad more towards the former, though it’s worth noting that the server kindly offered to bring some additional servings of brioche. However, I opted to leave space for the upcoming dishes.
Among the main courses, I ordered the shrimp with a crispy panko crust, the seared halibut, and the Canadian beef tenderloin, which were all incredibly delicious. I also sampled a selection of both white and red wines to accompany the dishes.
If I had to pick a favourite, it’d be the seared halibut. This dish was beautifully presented, the gleaming white slice of halibut floating harmoniously in the yuzu dashi broth, and it tasted just as good as it looked. However, I can’t ignore the fact that the shrimp and beef tenderloin were very much just as exquisite.
To wrap up the meal, I ordered the strawberry lemonade sorbet, which finished things off on a delightfully sweet note.
Overall, you can’t go wrong no matter what you order in the Signature Suite, and I’d even venture to say that there’s a real case to be made for filling up your appetite here in this lounge and skipping the onboard meal service – especially if you’re embarking on an overnight transatlantic flight, where this would allow you to maximize rest onboard.
Beyond the à la carte offerings, there’s a small buffet with an attractive variety of items, plus of course, the bar where you can hang out.
When I visited, the selection encompassed steamed rice and dumplings, grilled vegetables, stew, and a few soups. An assortment of cured meats, cheeses, and smoked salmon were available, as well as a salad bar and a selection of desserts.
In terms of the meal selection over the course of the day, breakfast is served in the Signature Suite until 10:30am, and then the à la carte and buffet offerings transition to an all-day dining concept.
- 1 of 6
- 2 of 6
- 3 of 6
- 4 of 6
- 5 of 6
- 6 of 6
Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto – Other Facilities
The restrooms at the Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto feature six distinct individual stalls, each with a sophisticated blend of dark, sleek, and gold aesthetics. Inside, there’s a single vanity with an oversized mirror and an adjacent toilet.
Hand towels are provided in the restrooms, alongside Molton Brown toiletries.
Regrettably, the lounge doesn’t feature shower facilities. However, Air Canada Signature Suite passengers receive priority access to showers available in the nearby Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, albeit a bit of a distance away.
This might be considered a drawback of the lounge compared to other leading business class lounges around the world, but alas, there isn’t much that can be done due to space limitations in this part of the airport facility.
On a similar note, the Signature Suite can get fairly crowded during its busiest hours, especially during the evening bank of transatlantic departures, which can impact the level of service during the dining experience. In light of this, I’d say it’s fairly unlikely that the lounge’s rather restrictive access requirements will be loosened in the future.
The Air Canada Signature Suite Toronto is a top-notch business class lounge that meaningfully elevates the Air Canada Signature Class experience when departing out of the airline’s biggest hub.
The standout feature of this lounge is undoubtedly its exceptional à la carte fine dining. Every appetizer and main course I indulged in was exquisite, and I was also very impressed with the range of wine and Champagne on offer.
The calibre of service also stood out, as it was clear that the staff in this lounge are trained to a higher standard of service than what’s offered in most North American airport lounges for the more premium clientele.
Despite some weak points like the crowdedness during the evenings and the lack of showers, there’s no doubt that the Signature Suite offers a far superior experience than a regular Maple Leaf Lounge.
If you’re an Air Canada frequent flyer who regularly books paid business class flights out of Toronto, this lounge no doubt serves as a welcome retreat prior to takeoff, and a potential avenue to getting more rest onboard by indulging in a higher-quality meal on the ground instead.
Meanwhile, if you typically fly on points, I’d say that the Signature Suite is certainly worth trying out at least once, and you’d handily recoup the incremental points required for an Aeroplan Business Class (Flexible) fare by diligently working your way through the food and drink menu.